Experiences of the 2016 NUT Student Shadowers

In an exciting new development, student shadowing is now sponsored by the NUT. This sponsorship enabled us to offer up 6 student conference places for the 2016 UKLA International Conference in Bristol. Find out about the winners.


In an exciting new development, student shadowing is now sponsored by the NUT. This sponsorship enabled us to offer up 6 student conference places for the 2016 UKLA International Conference in Bristol. 

Participating tutors were invited to select up to two students who have made outstanding contributions to student shadowing and write brief statements in support of their nominees. These nominations were judged by a UKLA panel and the winning students invited to the UKLA International Conference at guests of UKLA. 

The winning students were:

Mathew Taylor and Laura McEvilly from Canterbury Christ Church Universtiy

Trish Male from the University of Chichester

Christine Longworth from St Mark & St John-Plymouth

Rachel Davies and Pippa Knowles, the University of Worcester

Anne Swift, president of the NUT, honoured the winning students at the UKLA book Awards on the Friday of conference, and at a special coffee morning on the Saturday. Anne tweeted: It was such an enjoyable event… great to meet student teachers sponsored by NUT. Congratulations and good luck in your careers.

What did the winning students think about their experience? 

Attending the UKLA Conference as a student was inspiring and thought-provoking.Having the opportunity to not only shadow the book awards this year, but to meet many of the authors responsible for such high quality literature, such as Rebecca Cobb and Alexis Deacon, was an incredible and exciting experience. It was amazing to be able to talk to these authors about their work and also to see the impact that their books had had on primary school children in the awards presentation. We had the opportunity to see how children had used many of the picture books and novels to inspire them in their own work and to help them to make something wonderful, such as performances and much more. It was an absolute honour to be able to announce the student shadow award and to be part of something so prestigious in the world of children’s literature. Finally, being part of the conference was an experience that I will never forget, especially as we also had the opportunity to dine with authors and illustrators, in my case Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz, and to be able to find out more about their lives and their inspirations. Laura McEvilly, CCCU

I had the most amazing weekend with you all at the UKLA Conference I have come away completely inspired, motivated and with my head buzzing with ideas. I already have a few ideas with regards to the areas I would like to research for my dissertation and that is thanks to the presentations I visited throughout the conference. Since arriving home I have created a file to put in any reading, research and ideas that I will be doing over the coming months. I really did have the best time! Everybody at the conference made me feel completely welcome, offered copious amounts of support and advice and made me feel special by treating me as their equal when I was quite simply in awe of them all. Christina Longworth St Mark & St John, Plymouth

Attending the UKLA awards was an amazing experience. I was walking around in awe with two other student shadowers I had met at the wine reception. It was an honour to be chosen and receive a sponsored place to attend the reception and Saturday conference. Meeting and having time to talk to the authors of each category was a brilliant opportunity. I was even able to take some quick pictures with them, as well as Teresa Cremin, someone who students definitely look up to. The Friday evening was a lovely welcome into the UKLA and what it’s all about and having dinner with an author was amazing. The entertainment that evening was also great and we were lucky enough to meet the poet afterwards. The conference keynote speakers and seminars themselves were very informative and I have come back into school full of passion and pride about how teachers can enthuse children to love reading. Pippa Knowles –Worcester

Being invited to attend the 2016 UKLA Book Awards was an incredible experience. I consider myself to be extremely lucky and honoured to have been provided with the opportunity to continue my professional development from a Student Shadower perspective whilst networking with some of the most inspirational educators and authors. Not just those who’ve excelled in creating children’s literature; but also to converse amongst authors and editors of academic books, some of which I considered as bibles whilst at University, was truly enlightening. It was also wonderful to discuss the literature whilst having treasured copies signed in front of my eyes (something to tell the children), and somehow surprising how both ordinary and extraordinary such inspiring people actually are, it only adds to the allure of their literature.The weekend was filled with surprises, wining and dining with the authors, captivating keynotes, riveting symposiums, and exchanging contacts in the field of teaching in order to grow in professional development.The UKLA Book Awards is something not to be missed, I hope to return next year, and look f orward to having my own class in which to apply my new learning. Trish Male Chichester

Find out more about the Student Shadowing Award Programme

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